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You guys feel safe with bucket heaters?

I got one to heat my HLT in hopes to set a timer to it to start heating my water a few hours before starting brewing. I have experimented with it but, I am soo scared to let it go on with my and the family sleeping. I have it in garage but, let me know if I am being paraniod? here is the heater in question:

I run mine with a heavy-duty timer on a GFCI outlet - typically it comes on about 11:00P for a 7:00A start and I cover the timer with a blanket or something else to keep moisture off it (I brew outside). Done this many times with consistent results (250F added per hour divided by the total volume) and it has never popped the breaker.

I use mine outside hooked up to a GFCI outlet. I control it with a thermostat so it’s ready to go in the am. Haven’t had a problem, but it’s outside.

I hope this isn’t crazy, but I’ve been using mine on my kitchen counter without incident or breaker issues. I brew five gallon batches so I’ll usually have 2-4 gallons (depending) in the bucket and just plug it in when I wake up so that I can go about my morning (breakfast, shower, kids, etc.) and then mash in an hour or so after I plug in. I mash inside and boil outside.

Someone please tell me if I am courting a disaster… :shock:

Thanks for posting this formula Shadetree - I never knew this could be calculated with this degree of accuracy. Would that be total volume in gallons?

[quote=“Dan S”]Would that be total volume in gallons?[/quote]Yes, total gallons. I just put the heater in a known volume of water, checked the temp, then ran it an hour and checked the temp again to get a first data point and then found that it holds true no matter how much water is used as long as the entire heater bar is submerged. It might depend on the bucket heater, but you can do the experiment one time and it’ll be consistent.

Thanks guys. So 10 gallons would heat 25 degrees per hour?

[quote=“vanwolfhausen”]So 10 gallons would heat 25 degrees per hour?[/quote]Assuming it’s the same model as mine, yes.

I was given a 1000 watt one so I tried it to bring 5 gallon of water from 62 degs to 182 degs time 1 hour 50 mins. I will just heat my water with propane.

It’s nice to have it ready to go in the morning. Get up, mash in, get coffee, read comics, vorlauf, etc.

I personally just would like to have it timed so it starts heating 2 hours or so before I get up. That way by the time I get up and are ready to go so is my strike water. Eventually I would like to have an all electric HLT but, for not this will do so I can not have to worry about heating with propane.

I use two on a timer for each and have them start about an hour and a half before I plan to wake in the morning (for a ten gallon batch with 6 or so gallons of strike water). By the time I get grain weighed and ground , it usually is hot enough to mash and usually I have to cool it a little to zero in the mash temp. Then I get my sparge water heated the same way (assuming a 90 minute mash - plus I usually have enough time for breakfast with the boss during that time). I haven’t had a problem, but make sure the timers will handle the amp draw of the heaters. I love the bucket heater - it sure cuts down on propane use!!

What do these things cost? Where do you get them?

About $40. Google “bucket heater” and you’ll find sites like this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bucket-Heater-for-ice-free-water-in-winter-/130728281455?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1e7003456f

Cool, thanks.

1000 watt pretty much the standard?

Looks like Amazon has them too.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BDB4UG

1000W is what I use. Could plug in two if you wanted to heat the water faster, but I just start it earlier - last brewday I heated 20 gallons of strike water to 180F with the timer set to start at midnight, ready at 8:00AM.

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